Minnesota Department of Transportation

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State Aid for Local Transportation

E-Scene April 2021

flowers in meadow

Update on State Programs: Local Road Improvement, Local Bridge Replacement, Safe Routes to School

By: Marc Briese, State Aid Programs Engineer

IMPORTANT REMINDER FOR 2017 FUNDING RECIPIENTS

Bond funds that were authorized in 2017 are set to expire at the end of this year on December 31, 2021. Ideally, local agencies will have completely spent and received all reimbursement for all 2017 bond funds by the end of 2021. But in all cases, all 2017 bond funds must be fully encumbered by the end of the year, meaning that grant agreements must be fully executed with all bond funds identified and encumbered therein. State Aid Finance has been and will continue to be in touch with local agencies that have not fully spent 2017 bond funds.

Update on Programs with 2020 Funding

Since enactment of the bonding bill on October 21, 2020, the State Aid Programs group has been very busy. Below are updates on each of the programs that received funding from the bonding bill.

Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP)

Twenty-six projects received legislative earmarks in the October 2020 bonding bill. State Aid Programs and district state aid engineers (DSAE) have held kick-off meetings for all 26 of these projects. Several projects even have grant agreements full executed.

The competitive LRIP solicitation that includes $75 million in funding was released on December 2, 2020. The solicitation closed on March 3, 2021. We received 421 applications, which is almost twice as many as we’ve received in any of the previous solicitations. Because of this unprecedented interest, we are now anticipating announcement of LRIP awards in early to mid-June. As a reminder, particularly for agencies that selected 2021 as the desired construction year, if local agencies want to be considered for LRIP funding they need to wait to advertise the project until after LRIP awards have been announced, the DSAE has reviewed and signed the LRIP plans, and the Programs group has issued a funding letter.

If this revised schedule impacts your application in any way, please contact us at saltirhelp.dot@state.mn.us. Potential options include withdrawing your application, delaying the start to later in 2021, and moving the project to 2022. If you elect to move the project to 2022, you will in no way be penalized in the evaluation process.

Local Bridge Replacement Program (LBRP)

The bonding bill included $30 million for LBRP. When combined with the Motor Vehicle Lease Sales Tax (MVLST) funds that were made available to State Aid in August 2020, we had roughly $41.2 million available to allocate. With more projects on the waiting list that could be funded, Programs staff worked with local agencies and DSAEs to prioritize projects for funding. Over the past three months, we have issued funding letters for more than 80 bridge projects across the state. We continue to monitor bids and will allocate funds to addition projects from the waiting list if bids come in under the estimates.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS)

The bonding bill included $3 million for SRTS infrastructure projects. The State Aid Programs section will work cooperatively with the MnDOT Safe Routes to School Coordinator from the Office of Transit and Active Transportation to develop a solicitation. We anticipate that a solicitation will be released in the fall of 2021, and likely will be released concurrently with the federal Transportation Alternatives Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) solicitation so local agencies will have an opportunity to decide whether they want to pursue state funds, federal funds, or both.